Dick Nolan
Personal information
Date of birth (1932-03-26)March 26, 1932
Place of birth Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of death November 11, 2007(2007-11-11) (aged 75)
Career information
Position(s) Safety
College Maryland
NFL Draft 1954 / Round 4 / Pick 41
Head coaching record
Career record 69-82-5
Playing stats Pro Football Reference
Playing stats DatabaseFootball
Coaching stats Pro Football Reference
Coaching stats DatabaseFootball
Team(s) as a player
New York Giants
Chicago Cardinals
New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys
Team(s) as a coach/administrator
Dallas Cowboys (DC)
San Francisco 49ers
New Orleans Saints (LB)
New Orleans Saints
Houston Oilers (DC)
Dallas Cowboys (WR)
Dallas Cowboys (DB)
Denver Broncos (DL)
San Antonio Force

Richard Charles Nolan (March 26, 1932 – November 11, 2007) was an American football player and head coach in the National Football League.


He was the father of college and NFL coach Mike Nolan.


Playing careerEdit

In his youth, Nolan was quarterback at White Plains High School and later a standout at the University of Maryland.[1] In the NFL, he played for a total of nine seasons (1954–62) in the defensive halfback, safety, and defensive back positions.[2] He was drafted in the fourth round (41st overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.[3] He later went on to play for the Chicago Cardinals and, finally, the Dallas Cowboys in 1962. Head coach Tom Landry used Nolan as a "player-coach". When Nolan was injured halfway through his first season, he took over defensive coaching duties.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

For six seasons, he was an assistant to Coach Tom Landry in Dallas, and afterwards, he was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers for eight seasons from 1968 through 1975, noted for developing the defense and taking the team to three straight NFC West division titles (1970–72), twice missing the Super Bowl by only one game (1970–71). Additionally, he was head coach for the New Orleans Saints from 1978–80 going 15–29. He was the first Saints head coach to win six, seven, and eight games in a single season, going 7–9 in 1978 and 8–8 in 1979.[5] Nolan was fired by the Saints in 1980 after an 0–12 start. His last game was on November 24 of that season, a 27–7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. The Saints finished the 1980 season 1–15, as interim coach Dick Stanfel won only one of his four games, a 21–20 victory over the New York Jets in week 15.

His alma mater, the University of Maryland, College Park, interviewed Nolan for the head coach vacancy created when Jerry Claiborne left for Kentucky, but ultimately, chose Bobby Ross, instead.[6]

Nolan was well known for wearing business suits while coaching, a practice that the league has since disallowed in most circumstances due to the league signing exclusive apparel deals with sportswear companies (specifically Reebok).[7] The league made an exception after Nolan's death in 2007, allowing Nolan's son Mike and Jack Del Rio, coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, to wear suits in the elder Nolan's honor.[8]


External linksEdit

Preceded by
Ed Biles
Houston Oilers Defensive Coordinators
Succeeded by
Chuck Studley (vacant until 1983)
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